Sermon Date: January 25, 2017
Sermon By: Pastor Dale Raether
Scripture: Luke 10:1-9, 16-20
Jesus Wants You!
When you look at this poster of Uncle Sam, what do you notice? Well, for one thing no matter where you’re sitting, it looks like he’s pointing at you. He wants you for you for service to our country. Also, notice the serious expression on Uncle Sam’s face. That’s because our country is trouble, but the point of this poster is you can do something about it. In fact it’s your duty to, in order that America may remain strong and free. So, is anyone here ready to enlist? Jesus also wants us. However in recruiting us, Jesus isn’t point at us. He pointing to Himself, because in our text this morning: 1. He will guide us in our work. 2. He will fill us with joy in our work.
Our text reads, “Rejoice that your names are written in heaven – Luke 10:20.” This is to be the starting point of all that we do. God has called us to be heirs of heaven. This is amazing! We were born with a sinful nature that made us unwilling and unable to please God. Also, because we were outside God’s Kingdom, by default we were in Satan’s kingdom, who would do everything in his power to keep it that way. If Jesus had not stepped in for us, even now we would be slaves to Satan’s temptations and to the guilt that follows and to the eternal condemnation that comes after that. But Jesus did step in. He crushed Satan’s power to accuse us by paying for our sins for us. And then He gave us the Holy Spirit, so that we love righteousness and aren’t slaves to temptation anymore, unless we choose to be.
In addition to remembering that God has made us His children, it’s also good to remember HOW He did this. He called us to faith through His Word, which is why in our text He sent out those 72 evangelists. Another way He writes people’s names in the book of life is through their Baptism. God prophesied the blessings of New Testament Baptism in the Old Testament book of Ezekiel 36. He said, 1. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. 2. I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 3. I will put my Spirit in you and move you to be careful to keep my laws. 4. You will be my people, and I will be your God.
How shall we respond to God writing our names in the Book of Life? Let it be with daily repentance and trust in Christ alone! Let it also be with a deep awareness of what life is like for those whose names are not yet written in the Book of Life, or their maybe they are, but there’s no one to strengthen and encourage them in their faith.
We read, “The Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field – Luke 10:1-2.” Freeing people from Satan’s power, and then motivating them on the inside so that they follow through and continue in God’s Kingdom – that’s not easy. We know that for ourselves. But here are some guidelines Jesus gives us for this work. The first is don’t go it alone. If at all possible go two by two, so that the Holy Spirit can work through the one to encourage the other. It’s also good to have more than one set of eyes to see what’s really going on in a situation and what needs to be said.
However, if we’re really serious about encouraging one another, we soon realize there’s more to do than we can possibly get done. And so Jesus’ next guideline is that we pray for more workers.
Now, it’s certainly not pleasant never being able to keep up. But there are blessings to that. For one, it keeps us humble and trusting in Christ’s strength alone. Then when there are successes, we’ll gladly give the glory to God alone, so that pride doesn’t mess up faith. Another blessing of not being able to keep up and praying for more workers is as each new worker enlists in God’s army, we’re thrilled. We see that person as an answer to prayer, which then makes working together an even greater joy! Also, should there be any conflicts down the road, keep praying for more workers, and see how God heals that conflict in answer to prayer.
We read on in our text, “Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves – Luke 10:3a.” The Biblical picture behind the word lamb is someone who trustingly follows God’s Word no matter what, and always speaks the truth in love. The Biblical picture behind the word wolf is someone who loves to pick at and twist God’s Word for his own prideful purposes. So, how are lambs suppose to take on wolves? Well, again, two by two and with much prayer! But especially remember that Jesus wants us to go. And besides we never know when He’ll change a wolf into a lamb.
Reading on, “Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road – Luke 10:3b-4.” The point of this guideline is trust in Jesus a day at a time for our earthly needs, so that we can stay focused on our mission, which is sharing His word with both young and old. The phrase do not greet anyone on the road isn’t telling us to be unfriendly. It’s another way of saying don’t let yourself get side-tracked, because the harvest is plentiful and the workers are few.
Here are a few more guidelines. “When you enter a house, first say, 'Peace to this house.' If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you. Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house – Luke 10:5-7.” The reason these 72 were not to move from house to house is they weren’t to be looking for who had the best food. Again their work and also our work today isn’t about what WE want. It’s about bringing God’s peace to starving souls.
Unfortunately not everyone wants their soul fed. Whenever we run into that Jesus’ advice is move on. We read, “But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God is near' – Luke 10:11.” As we move on, we aren’t to just leave them alone. We’re to make it clear that their beef is with God, and someday we’re all going to have to answer to Him. Either we will do so in peace with Jesus by our side, or we’ll do so without Him. Yet there’s no reason for anyone to be without God’s peace, because He’s near to all through His Word and through those whom He appoints to speak His Word.
Here’s one more guideline from Jesus. “Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages – Luke 10:7.” God doesn’t intend that every Christian be a pastor or teacher or a member of the Evangelism Committee. Rather by grace God chooses some for that work, and then it’s His will those who listen, share in their work by means of their offerings. In whatever you give, let it be your thanksgiving to God for calling you to faith. Let your offerings also be in keeping with your desire for more workers that many more souls may be won for Jesus.
However, giving isn’t the only way we share in the harvest. Our sermon series right now is from Luke. Next week’s message is about helping people one on one. The week after that is on using our time and talents to build up His Church. At any rate Jesus wants you to join in His work, because He wants you to share in the joy.
We read, “The seventy-two returned with joy and said, "Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name." He replied, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven" – Luke 10:17-20.” The 72 were excited to be able to do some amazing things. At that time demonic possession was common, because Satan was showing himself in that way in order to scare people into thinking that God couldn’t help them. With a word, these 72 could cast out demons, and Jesus also gave them other miraculous powers to show that He had sent them.
Never doubt that He is also sending us. Today Satan works more behind the scenes. But we still can free people from his grasp, because whether we speak His Word privately with a friend or publically in behalf of the congregation, Jesus is standing behind us. He says, “He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me – Luke 10:16.”
Some would say we’re living in a very discouraging time. Actually, it’s not a discouraging time. It’s harvest time, and our discouragement comes from not joining in on the harvest. But Jesus wants you. He wants you to have joy over each child that learns about Jesus in our Sunday School or Academy. He wants you to have joy over each family that worships here. And He wants you to have joy over each Missionary that’s sent out through our congregation’s mission offerings. And now here’s how all these things will remain a joy for us. Always remember your first joy – it’s that Jesus wants US for heaven and has written our names in the Book of Life. In that joy, each new day let’s reenlist in Jesus’ army! Amen.